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Military medical personnel are tasked with fulfilling both the benefits mission and the readiness mission of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). Currently, most military medical personnel are stationed at military treatment facilities (MTFs) during peacetime, where they maintain their clinical skills by treating beneficiaries of TRICARE, the military health care program. However, the medical skills required during deployment are likely to differ significantly from those required at MTFs. Alternative arrangements for maintaining medical skills for deployment may be needed. One alternative would be to station some military medical personnel in nonmilitary settings where the case mix might more closely resemble the expected case mix under deployment, such as emergency rooms or trauma centers. This study explored one model under which active-duty personnel would be assigned to civilian settings during peacetime, focusing on civilian receptiveness to the proposed arrangement and identifying potential barriers and concerns. Findings indicate that civilian medical organizations are generally receptive to the idea of such a model and that DoD could consider conducting a pilot study to assess the effectiveness of the model in improving military medical readiness.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Model for Maintaining Military Medical Skills in Civilian Health Care Facilities

  • Chapter Three

    Feasibility from the Civilian Standpoint

  • Chapter Four

    Advantages and Disadvantages from DoD’s Perspective

  • Chapter Five

    Implementing a Pilot Study

  • Chapter Six

    Summary and Conclusion

This research was sponsored by the Director of Program Analysis and Evaluation and the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs. It was conducted jointly by the RAND Health Center for Military Health Policy Research and the Forces and Resources Policy Center of the RAND National Defense Research Institute. The latter is a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Department of the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.

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